The Time Factor | Major English – XII



The Time Factor
– Gloria Steinem

Personal Point of View

Perhaps I have a lower level of reading, or maybe Gloria Steinem and me come from two completely different worlds. It took me four times to read and fully understand the implications and ideas put forth by her in her article entitled: The Time Factor. After reading the first time, I came away with the notion that it was an incredibly biased article and was doing more than commenting on culture, but was her attempt at putting herself and others down. But after reading every sentence over and over again, I began to understand what she was trying to say. The Time factor, although awkwardly written, gives insight into somebody’s interesting views on how the world works. It focuses on how planning ability is directly correlated by cultural status, based on race, gender, and wealth. Chris Rock summarized it much better in my opinion, “when a white man is rich, he is rich forever, and so are his children, and his children’s children. When a black man is rich, it’s countdown to being poor again!”

Going back to the first read through, I came out sick that somebody could even suggest what she said. “Though the cultural habit of living in the present and glazing over the future goes deep, we’ve begun to challenge the cultural punishment awaiting the “pushy” and “selfish” women (and the “uppity” minority men) who try to break through it and control their own lives.” Now, what does that mean? After reading that paragraph four times, I think she’s implying that women are constantly pressured by society and culture to do whatever the culture wants, and not care about what the woman wants. What confused me was her use of the words pushy, and selfish. What’s the point of using those words? I feel that she was attempting to provide emphasis on her point and imply that those are words used by men to put her down. I’m still lost on the word uppity though, comprehension of this essay isn’t based on my lack of vocabulary, but on my lack of perception. I simply can’t put myself in her shoes, and halfway through the second read, I realized that.

The ideas presented in this article are invaluable though. She’s saying that depending on your social status, you’ll have a greater ability to plan ahead for yourself and your children. Not just financially, but on everything in your life, even the small things like working on projects and hobbies. The problem with this is that she uses examples from everyday life which can never be relied on as valuable data. Mentioning a black man in your life that can’t get a leg up in the world doesn’t apply to everybody. But who is policing all of these rules? Of course, culture has ways of controlling people that abide by it, most of the time it’s subconscious, where you unintentionally dress how you visualize yourself to be; there are a lot of theories on how culture controls us. Gloria on the other hand, makes implications that men are the bad guys. She doesn’t say men are the bad guys, but says that women are the underdogs, and that’s the bias that is being introduced here.

The reason that I took so long to read 2 and a half pages is because her life is completely different than mine. Her writing style of course is derived from her influences, and her mind. Her ideas on how people are viewed are completely different as well. I personally think that everyone is free in this world and if you work hard enough you can accomplish anything. She must have grown up in a world where she was put down because of her decisions and perhaps because of her gender and she came out a stronger, and perhaps bitter woman. But her world isn’t the real world unfortunately, and it isn’t valid to assume these things for everybody.

Presented by Roland Pelletier